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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Southampton 0-0 Man City
James Beattie battles with Joey Barton for the ball
Southampton are still looking for their first win under Steve Wigley after a dismal draw with Manchester City.

Sylvain Distin and Richard Dunne had efforts cleared off the line as City controlled a poor first 45 minutes.

The pattern continued after the break, with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Sun Jihai almost forcing a breakthrough.

But, after Antti Niemi bravely denied Nicolas Anelka, Saints finished well with Peter Crouch going close to giving them a win they scarcely deserved.

Southampton started brightly, but City always looked the likelier to score and Prutton was forced to head behind when Distin got on the end of Anelka's corner.

It was deja vu when Prutton cleared a Dunne header, and two more Anelka corners followed, the last of which Dunne headed wide.

There was a blow for Saints when skipper and attacking spearhead James Beattie hobbled off with a suspected broken toe in the 18th minute, to be replaced by Crouch.

It should have been even worse for them a minute later when Wright-Phillips surged down the right and crossed to Anelka but, in plenty of space, he shot wide.

Ben Thatcher then came close with a 30-yard free-kick, while a low 25-yarder from Kevin Phillips and a poked Rory Delap effort, both of which David James dealt with comfortably, gave Saints fans some crumbs of comfort.

But that was merely the cue for more City pressure and Dunne saw a powerful half-volley cleared off the line by Svensson.

Jihai had two decent chances before the break but he dragged his shot wide after Joey Barton played him in and was off-target with a header from Anelka's ninth corner of the first half.

City had an escape soon after the interval when James flapped at a corner and Dunne had to head clear.

But Wright-Phillips came within a whisker of getting the breakthrough almost immediately when he burst into the box and fired across Niemi and just over the far corner.

Anders Svensson forced James to tip over a 30-yard free-kick but moments of genuine quality were still few and far between.

Most of those were coming from City and Niemi produced a good save to parry Jihai's well-struck shot.

With the game drawing to a close, Niemi bravely denied Anelka after a poor header from Andreas Jakobsson, and he saved smartly from Jon Macken soon after.

Southampton rallied in the last few minutes and Phillips was inches wide with a 20-yard drive.

Neil McCann finished poorly after a three on one break and James superbly denied Crouch and prevented a Distin own-goal, but a Saints winner then would have been harsh on City.


Southampton: Niemi, Nilsson, Lundekvam, Jakobsson, Le Saux (Van Damme 45), Fernandes (McCann 67), Delap, Prutton, Anders Svensson, Phillips, Beattie (Crouch 18).
Subs Not Used: Blayney, Kenton.

Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Jihai, Anelka, Macken.
Subs Not Used: McManaman, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sommeil, Flood, Waterreus.

Att: 28,605.

Ref: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).





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